I just went through my flags and saw that some were declined with the following reason:

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

For example: these two questions were flagged as low quality and migratable respectively. These actions require mod intervention, but the flags were declined with the above reason.

So: why shouldn't I have flagged these type of questions?

  • I declined that flag on the first question and honestly: I don't remember why. It was over half a year ago.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 17:44
  • @IanC. Oh, these were just two examples, I was more aiming at the general case. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 21:41
  • Yea, but usually I can look and it'd be something obvious like I'd rather you had down voted it or made an edit or something like that. But I have zero clue in this case. If you flagged that today I would have put it on hold. Sorry about that. Human and all that...
    – Ian C.
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


In a nutshell, just because a flag was declined doesn't mean at all you shouldn't have raised them. I'll try to break down how I see things:

I wouldn't flag it as low quality (which is what it looks like you chose). It's too broad / unclear - there's clearly something that would be on-topic. Unless there was a pattern of bad questions or spammy activity - I'd probably put it on hold instead of insta-deleting, but I didn't dig deeply into that user to see if/why it was handled for deletion.

This was flagged as other asking for migration. That flag should be declined since we cannot migrate anything more than a few months old. Even then, it's perfectly fine here.

Apart from the specifics, here are things to consider in general when moderators handle flags. A problem arises when there are multiple flags on the same post. Sometimes a moderator has to choose the lesser of two evils and decline all flags if most of them are wrong. Also - sometimes I mis-click and decline a flag that should have been approved. I don't know if that happened, but if you end up with a dozen declines amongst 100 flags - I wouldn't worry. If you get 50% flags declined, then absolutely ask here for explanation, help, etc...


When it comes to migration, our policy in the past here has been only to migrate if the poster requested it. If the post were off-topic here, we close. If the post is on-topic here, we leave it here unless the poster requests sending it somewhere else. So a migration flag from someone other than the OP would be declined. We've had pretty heavy moderator turnover since that policy was explained to me, so I don't know it that is current practice by all current mods, but that's what I was taught, and thus why I declined the flag in question.


Regarding "low quality" flags in general, there isn't very much a moderator can do which non-mod users can't do as well

  • downvote
  • leave a comment asking for clarification/improvements
  • improve the post directly by editing it (this is actually the preferred option)

That's why I tend to decline "low quality" flags from higher-rep users (with higher rep starting at the point where the user gets access to the review queue).

  • 1
    This is also the approach I take. It doesn't take a mod to down vote a low quality answer. If something is ambiguously an answer, but low quality, I'll decline the flag. Users are expected to be voting on SE sites.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 17:28

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